This automaker bailout discussion is precisely what I was getting at here and here. And again, conservatism, even in it's most disciplined forms, fails. If Robert Reich is to be believed, there are some 3 million people employed in direct connection with the Big Three. There are some 25 million employed in indirect connection with the Big Three. Even if we were just to restrict ourselves to the actual employees of the three root companies, we are talking about thousands and thousands of people working for, and hundreds of thousands of people in the immediate families of people working for, the American auto industry. A full fledged collapse of these three companies like the one that is currently possible would cause incalculable human hardship, true economic devastation for many thousands of people.
Now that's not the only salient factor. It could indeed be the case that the responsible way forward would be not to bail out the car companies. But I've read around on lots of conservative blogs who are arguing against these bailout plans. And most of them have nothing to say on the topic of the human costs. The prudent action for our country may or may not be bailing out the car companies. But integrity demands that the people who are arguing not to talk honestly and openly about this enormous human cost. Instead, I see evasion, elision, qualification, equivocation, and ignoring.
Conservatism still strikes me as being deeply unwilling or unable to discuss the social costs of its preferred policies, and until that intransigence is either changed or adequately justified it speaks to a great failing at the heart of the conservative enterprise.